Sunday, May 31, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
- Relinquished (willingly surrendered to an authority, orphanage or gov't officer by their parent/immediate family member)
- Abandoned (deserted without any trail to a parent/immediate family member)
There are pros & cons to both situations, from the side of a PAP (pending adoptive parent) receiving a referral. If you receive a referral for a child who was relinquished, you have the opportunity to visit their biological family in the village they were born, speaking with your child's family members, asking specific medical history, and so on. The downside you face is the possibility of a delay in passing court. The courts require that a relinquished child's parent or family member appears in court on your assigned court date to sign off on their relinquishment. Should they live hours from town, are too busy, not care, become ill, among a host of other reasons to not show in court that day - you don't pass court.
The alternative is, your referred child was abandoned. You will most likely have little, if any, medical history, family history, information surrounding their birth, etc. These cases have passed court much smoother in the past, due to the lack of access to birth parents/families. Therefore it is not a requirement by the courts for them to attend.
Unfortunately, there has been a spike in abandoned cases being sent through the courts - all coming from the same area. This has raised a big red flag with the federal judge and MOWA (the Ethiopian government ministry in charge of women and children’s affairs). Is there "orphan trade" (not my words) occurring? Is there parent-coercion from outsiders? Whatever the reality, the end result is speculation of unethical practices by certain agencies, causing the courts to temporarily stop seeing abandonment cases that originate from private orphanages in the city of Addis. (our agency uses gov't run orphanages in and outside of Addis prior to bringing them into their own care facilities).
For purposes of this post, I've limited the info to the bare necessity needed to understand the situations involved with our adoption. Anything posted here is simply my view, based on information I received from our agency. Yes, I did a lot of research online and have read the statements - some believable, some absolutely absurd and some that have made me think. However, our agency has had such consistent communication with its families, I knew we would receive something from them addressing the current situation in Ethiopia. The email came yesterday.
They addressed the issues and didn't hide the fact that there are many articles out there right now spreading like wildfire re: alleged corruption in international adoption, with Ethiopia hitting the list. It's a very hot topic among the international adoption community right now and very likely to spill over into the mainstream. I wanted our family and friends to know that we are dealing with one of the most highly respected agencies in Ethiopia (among the courts, govt and various agencies). It is also one of the oldest agencies, with over 100 in-country reps on the ground in Ethiopia working hard for all the children in their care.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
We are now, more than ever, in the mix. Our individual home study interviews are complete, as are our couples interview and home review. While that was happening, the main office in Texas was moving our file on to our third (and final) caseworker! This is the caseworker who will guide us through our dossier submission (our next step) up until we're ready for our travel plans to Ethiopia. (still a l.o.n.g. way away; update on wait times will be a topic very soon)
Once all is fine on her end, Kai & I will be "authenticating" each document in order to complete our dossier.
"Authenticating" in this world is as follows: each document must be signed off by the Secretary of State in the state of which the act represented by the document occurred. Ex: We got married in Vegas. Our marriage certificate will now be sent to the Secretary of State of Nevada to be reviewed, stamped, approved as legal and returned to us. Not until then is it dossier-ready.
Once all documents are signed off by their corresponding Secretaries of State, they are returned to us and then the entire package (dossier) is submitted to both the US Embassy and the Ethiopian Embassy for review. This applies to EACH document.Documents submitted today for dossier review
our written statement (why we want to adopt and why from Ethiopia)
certified birth certs
certified marriage certs
fbi clearance letters with fbi fingerprints
employment letter for each
proof of life insurance for both parents
proof of health insurance for both parents
medical certs for both parents
3 reference letters
Completing over weekend to submit Monday
notarized financial statement
notarized, color copies of passports
2 official passport photos
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Whew! It's Tuesday morning. That means our 7:45pm 5/11 home study appointment is in the past. I must say I felt completely at ease and prepared for whatever would come our way. That was until our buzzer rang. That's the moment my stomach did little cartwheels and my mind turned to complete white noise. Thank goodness for Kai's calmness!
And this is very important for anyone else out there scrubbing your baseboards in preparation for your home study. The go-to speech as I remember it went like this...
We asked my brother and sister (who are both great parents, yet with very different parenting mantras) to email us questions. My friend, Lisa, also sent some great ones which were SO helpful. This was our Saturday & Sunday evening entertainment - following our long days of hands & knees cleaning. It was great! and transpired into entire nights of "what if ..." and "when do we allow ..." and "my philosophy on ..." that by midnight, Niko was 16 and not allowed to go on a date with the girl he liked because he wouldn't introduce her to us, nor would he tell us where they were going.
So, my advice for preparing for your home study is to ask family or friends who are fabulous parents to send you a few real life scenarios. Answer them candidly (and separately) from your partner to see how you each would deal. There will definitely be differences, but if you're both on the same page overall, you'll do fine! It's also fun to see where the conversation goes. We discussed things that were completely ridiculous - and brought a great laugh about the whole thing. Above all, you must keep your sense of humor.
Prior to our meeting, we had a contractor come to adjust the side gate, front door, an exterminator for 'just in case' and of course the hands & knees weekend cleaning & organizing. It felt productive but I don't think it was necessary. My advice would be to focus on yourselves. Yes, clean your house but don't kill yourself.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
The windows are open. The curtains are blowing. The pillows are back on the balcony furniture and we're loving it. Hopefully lunch & dinner will be held outside today.
At the risk of sounding preachy, I came across a story that I felt is worth passing along. According to statistics, one in three of us is touched directly by Alzheimers in some fashion. Maria Shriver has written a book about her personal experience with Alzheimers, which has now been produced for TV and airs tonight. It seems to dig a bit deeper than simply a chronicle of symptoms, stages and statistics.
She writes, On Mother's Day, May 10th, HBO will air and I will executive produce the most comprehensive television event ever about Alzheimer's disease called The Alzheimer's Project -- focusing on the cutting-edge science, the issues of care-giving, how one lives with the disease, and the children and grandchildren of Alzheimer's.
What I especially found interesting are the inter-generational daycare centers, where toddlers and Alzheimers patients eat, sing, dance and have story-time together. How innovative for stimulation and interaction.
Some wonderful things are being done when this disease is recognized and put on the table as something to deal with. Hopefully this special will be a big fat voice for those no longer able to speak up on their own behalf.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
I like it.
Another stray also made it into the mini-makeover this afternoon. While the 2nd coat on the misfit dresser was drying, I was searching for something else I could get my hands on to use up the remaining paint I had sitting in the roller bin. We now have a blue 6' horizontal shoe container slash plant holder slash umbrella stand on our landing. That may take a minute to grow on me, but Kai is very pleased with it.
Switching gears, it was a fun week at work last week. I got a cool shot with Oderous (lead singer of GWAR) during his photo shoot for Revolver Mag. This pix is from my blackberry, but the photog is emailing me a better shot next week from his stash.
Gotta love a job that comes with monsters!
Marissa, Oderous, Moi
Jason Aldean also came in (he's ALWAYS amazing) as did Evan Dando (Lemonheads). The new Lemonheads CD is released on 6/23 at which time I can stream the Dirty Robots track he did with Kate Moss. I doubt I'll post it here, but it will definitely be on my fashion blog, Twisted Knickers. I'm told by Evan's label that he'll be giving a quote for the post. Very exciting news.
I'm currently on a lunch break and I must say, very satisfied with our progress so far. Preparations went a little askew this morning when I woke up staring blankly at a dresser that has been sitting in our bedroom for quite some time with zero purpose and an equal amount of appeal. It is a hand-me-down we accepted purely for function, while we continue our search for the right piece to add to our bedroom.
So as I stared at it yet again, I decided today is the day we make it our own. Off to the hardware store I went to purchase a good primer that will coat melamine without having to pull out my sander. Ta-dah...
It's been drying all morning and anxiously awaiting the fabulous deep blue Moroccan-inspired shade I've created by mixing some old colors leftover in our storage room. I think the handles will be black.
Tuna sandwich is done. Kai's cleaning up his office. Off I go to spruce up the dining room and get cracking on this dresser. I'll post a pix later if I get it done today.
Happy Saturday to all and wishing everyone a Happy Mother's Day Eve!